It’s done, and everything works! The dogs can now run free in our backyard! And I can clean up the work bench and put away the tools, because it’s done! And if I do say so myself, I think it looks pretty frickin’ good!
None too soon, either. The temperatures are dropping (I could see my breath as I was staining wood*), and the first real snow of the season is predicted for tomorrow! Nothing like cutting it close!
*Not the recommended conditions for staining wood.
No idea what I last posted about our continuing building and renovation madness, and the thought of looking back makes me feel tired, so none of that. Look forward, always look forward. Do you see a fence? A backyard fence? Keep looking: It’s starting to come into focus.
This is what I’ve been building for the last month or two (surely it’s been longer): a little fence in the back yard to make a place for dog-in-law McDuff the Crime Dog to run around in. And since we’re going to all that trouble, we might as well make it big enough for Captain Jack, too, right? So he can turn our back yard into a moonscape, with his digging?
I told Allysen this would take a lot longer than we thought, and in that I was correct! For one thing, there was the little matter of putting together the arbor kit (some assembly required!) that I promised her fifteen years ago I would assemble for Mother’s Day. The arbor is part of one of the gateways for the fence, you see. A sort of portal into the backyard dimension. Well, I got that up—and I was never so glad that I’d bought a cordless nail-gun with a different project in mind. And as of today… there be a GATE!
Here it is, in all its newly built glory! And from outside the portal into the back yard:
The second gate is gonna be bigger. But that’s another story, still to be told.
Some of you may remember my Ponce Chronicles and Revenge of the Ponce Chronicles, telling the adventures of house repairs in Puerto Rico last winter. Well, we’re at it again, this time on our own house, here in Massachusetts. We’re renovating our downstairs apartment, in preparation for Allysen’s mom to move in. Fay is in her mid-80’s, and there are a lot of changes to be made for “aging in place.”
You may have thought from my recent posts that for the last few weeks, all I’ve been doing is plug my books. Indeed, no. In fact, we have been plugging the holes in our sanity, while researching accessibility, working with contractors, buying (or not buying) appliances that will work for someone Fay’s age, and so much more.
Do you like bathroom renovations? Who doesn’t, right? Right. We set out intending only to rip out the old bathtub/shower and replace it with a no-threshold shower, in hopes of preventing trips, slips, and falls. By the time it’s done (tomorrow, I hope!), we will have put in all new tile, toilet, fan, lights, walls—basically everything except the sink and the door. Fortunately, we found an amazing contractor who knew how to do everything we (Allysen) talked about. I cannot overstate the wonder of working with guys who are smart, knowledgeable, able to communicate clearly and share your vision, and do good work for a price that’s probably too low. We love these guys.
It hasn’t all been the bathroom, of course. I’m passing over the hardwood floors, the kitchen, the electrical work, the driveway, the porch lift… but I’ll get to those in another post.
And our role in this, besides signing checks? Painting, lots of painting; and rehabilitating the old kitchen sink cabinet that we decided, probably stupidly, to reuse. And making decisions? Oh yes…
Between us, I’m sure we spent hundreds of hours researching, measuring, and looking at refrigerators (we decided in the end to keep the old one), compact washers and dryers (used and refurbished), electric ranges, dishwashers… aaiiieee. It’s a Rubik’s cube.
Take selecting tile, for one. Oh, my head! Getting three people—Allysen, her mom, and me—all with divergent artistic sensibilities, to agree on style and pattern? And having chosen, discovering—after it was put down—that the tile company had sent the wrong tile for the floor? (Upshot: the tile stays, but the tile company refunded the money.) And selecting grout color?! Who knew it was important to pick out grout color?! And let’s not even get started on picking out the right toilet—only to discover, after attempted installation, that the one we picked out won’t fit.
All this with the date of Fay’s move breathing down our necks.
So, naw, I’ve done my fair share of hawking, but I haven’t only been hawking books these last few weeks.